This application is to request three years of funding for the annual Winter Conference on Brain Research (WCBR). The 2016 meeting will take place at Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center, Breckenridge, CO between Sunday January 24 to Thursday January 28. This conference is an ideal forum for exploring new developments in the field of substance use disorders (SUDs). WCBR has a unique format with 76 sessions (out of 93 submissions), including 73 2-hr panels, 6 1-hr mini-panels (3 sessions), and 2 short courses in 2015. There were 463 scientist attendees. There are daily poster sessions (Sun-Tue) including a special judged poster session that includes the top-ranking poster submissions predominantly presented by young investigators on Tue evening. New in 2015 was a Career Development Workshop for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty that was so well-attended that 2 sessions are being planned for 2016 (one including predocs and early postdocs; another for senior postdocs and Jr faculty). Extended periods of time are set aside for breakout groups, networking and scientific discussions. WCBR is an excellent opportunity for junior investigators and trainees to interact with established investigators in a relaxed atmosphere. The evaluations of recent conferences highlight the strong impact this meeting typically has on emerging as well as established scientists. As the travel funds allocated for emerging scientists have not kept pace with the rising costs of attending small, specialized meetings, we are requesting funding from other sources. We are hoping that the results of our requests enable us to support a keynote speaker as well as a large number of junior investigators to participate in the meeting. The conference includes one keynote speaker who also holds a Brain Talk Town Meeting that will be open to the entire Breckenridge community. For the 2016 WCBR meeting, Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D. Center for Neuroengineering, Duke U will be the Keynote and Brain Talk Town Meeting speaker. There is an annual School Outreach Program organized in collaboration with local middle and high school teachers in which up to 10 WCBR scientists visit community schools. WCBR's program is developed annually based on abstract submissions in August each year. At WCBR 2015, approximately 1/3 (two panels in each session) were specifically on abused drugs and another 1/6 (one panel in each session) was on reward. Thus, at least half of the conference should be of direct relevance to NIDA (with the remaining panels making up 1/3 of the program primarily NIMH- and 1/6 NINDS- relevant). Thus, the sessions are highly relevant to understanding the neurobiological bases of drug addiction as well as neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. WCBR always provides a unique opportunity to discuss recent advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of those conditions. The fact that a large proportion of the participants are junior investigators and a significant number will be graduate students and postdocs ensure that this conference may have an impact on how future generations of neuroscientists view these issues.
This application is to request funding for the 2016-2018 annual Winter Conference on Brain Research. The 2016 conference venue will be held at Beaver Run Resort from January 29-February 4, 2016. WCBR meetings highlight leading research in the neurobiology of substance use disorders including preclinical, translational, and clinical research that can lead to novel advances in our understanding of human brain diseases.